Profile For Ahmalia

Ahmalia's Info

  • Location:
    Topeka, KS

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 8 months ago

Ahmalia's Bio

I've been driving for Swift since completing training in 2012. I drove OTR for two years, then transferred to a dedicated fleet that has me home every night with weekends off.

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Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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CDL reinstated...

Thanks all!! Yes I was very worried DOT was going to deny me forever. It was a HUGE relief. And Swift has been amazing through all of this. They could have terminated me last year and told me to reapply if/when my cdl was reinstated. Instead they kept me employed and while I was on leave without pay, that did keep my medical insurance in place. Considering I had 3 major surgeries, physical therapy, and tons of tests in my quest for a diagnosis, this was extremely beneficial.

Just a little side note. During one of those medical tests it was determined that I have an extra lumbar spine. Meaning most people have L1 through L5 but I have an L6. Of course I immediately asked if that could have caused my numbness issue, and was told no. I asked if it could cause me issues of any kind and was told no. So I said basically what you are telling me is I have an extra spinal bone? And the doctor said yes. So then I replied, then how come I'm not taller? LOL

Anyway, like I said, it's great to be back! Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and support.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

CDL reinstated...

And I'm back. Medically cleared, cdl reinstated, and right back on the dedicated fleet. It was a long rough stressful year, but I'm glad to be back. I was also happy to discover truck driving is like riding a bike. Especially since when I walked into the terminal I was literally handed a set of keys to a truck and told to go pick up a load. No refresher course or Road training or anything. So I was a little nervous having not driven for a year. But I've been back at it 3 weeks now and it's like I was never gone. And what is really cool is all of the places I'm delivering to a lot of which I have not been to in over a year or more and the people there are greeting me with where the hell have you been? It's nice to be remembered. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Update...

Just popping back in with an update. Thyroid surgery went fine and the nodules were benign so not cancer. Went to renew my license as my birthday is tomorrow so it was due for renewal and found out it was automatically downgraded to class D when DOT put the hold on my med card. I have to present a valid med card by May 15 to get my class A reinstated. Otherwise I will have to retest to get my cdl back. I'm not sure what date I can go get my physical done to get my med card back because I think May 15th is the date DOT put the hold on it. I am working on getting all of my medical records for the last year together because I have a feeling I will need to present that to the doctor doing my physical. And I want to be prepared because I don't want any more delays in getting me back out on the road.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Update...

Well, the good news is still no further issues with numbness. The bad news is I have a rapidly growing nodule on my thyroid that is resulting in my getting to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, as the surgery to remove my thyroid is scheduled for the day before. Apparently the nodule is very close to my carotid artery, so of course my first question was, could this have caused my numbness issue last May? The answer was, possibly, but nobody is will to put that on paper for DOT.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Update...

Thanks, Brett. And who knows, maybe after dealing with my family constantly for the next 8-9 months, I'll WANT to go back OTR for awhile LOL. But also if Swift won't let me return to the dedicated fleet, I'm fairly sure I can find a job elsewhere for local driving. At least I hope so, don't know how potential employers would view me coming off a medical hold. But I'll definately keep ya'll posted on how DOT handles my situation, so if something similar happens to a TT driver in the future, ya'll will have a little more info.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Update...

Hey ya'll. OK, so update on me. I'm still on a one year medical hold per DOT, even with all doctors releasing me to return to work. My understanding is since I don't have an official diagnosis on what caused the numbness, it is a mandatory one year hold through DOT to wait and see if it happens again. My fear at this point is if nothing else occurs medically, will I be reinstated next year, or can DOT say without an official diagnosis I can never return to driving. I don't know. Medically I have had nothing else occur since the original episode.

In regards to employment, I am still technically employed by Swift, as I was approved for an 18 month medical leave under the American with Disabilities Act. The good news is that keeps my medical insurance in place, as long as I continue to pay the $67 per week. The bad news is of course it is leave without pay. Also, there is no guarantee if/when I return to Swift that I will be allowed to return to the dedicated fleet I was on. While my 2 years OTR was an adventure, after being on a dedicated fleet for 2 years where I was home every night and off on the weekends, I don't want to go back OTR. Of course, this is all up in the air until next May.

In the meantime, I have been drawing unemployment which ends this week. I have applied at and been interviewed by numerous companies in the last three months, with no job offers so far. The problems being that potential employers want to know why I would leave the job I had. When I tell them I'm on a medical hold, that scares them off. When I tell them I'm planning to return to driving, that scares them off. When I tell them I may not return to driving, that doesn't work either. Its very frustrating. However, my brother owns a bar and grill and just had some cooks quit/get fired, so I'll be filling in there starting next week. Nowhere near the money I made driving, but I think I'll be able to survive until next May.

Anyway, I'm hanging in there. Just wanted to pop in and give ya'll an update.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Thank you Brett. I know I did the right thing but like you said, it's hard to not regret it a little right now. But I'll get through this and hopefully next May I'll get my med card back and be back out there.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Haven't heard anything on the terminal job yet, so I called my boss today to see if he talked to whoever does the hiring like he said he would, and found out he was off today. Decided to wait and call him tomorrow to see what's up. Heard back from Swift Charities, and while it was implied I would be getting help on all bills except medical and satellite tv, ended up only getting approved for one month of rent, $500. And they don't put it on the commdata card where I can get it immediately, I have to wait for a check to come in the mail. Haven't heard back from unemployment yet either, supposed to hear a determination by Monday. If approved I'll get a lump some payment for the back weeks, about $2000, which will keep my head above water for another month or two. If denied, I'm pretty much screwed. And also, had to borrow $100 from my brother today to go buy a new vacuum cleaner, because mine caught fire this morning and burned holes in the carpet. Sigh....so tired.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Edwardsville KS is my home terminal. I know my driver leader and some other people are putting in a good word for me. Helps that I was on a regional fleet where I was in there a few times a week. But feel free if ya know some people there, couldn't hurt. Only good thing about rock bottom is only way to go is up. And thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Well, it's official. Medical card denied for one year. I've applied for a driver leader position at my terminal in the hope of keeping my medical insurance in place. It'll be an hour commute each way, but I don't mind driving, ha ha. It's also not too much of a paycut. They are holding off on terminating me to see if I get the job. I applied for unemployment 3 weeks ago, determination next week. If approved I'll get a lump sum for the back weeks which will help.

I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. Trying to keep my stress in check because it's affecting my blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Thanks to everyone that took the time to offer words of support and encouragement. I truly appreciate it.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

I really don't understand why a letter releasing me to return to work is insufficient for the DOT medical examiner. I also don't understand why one person can have a final say in my career. And I don't appreciate the fact that she jerked me around for 4 days and also implied I would be released, and then after many many phone calls that I know aggravated her and her staff, all of a sudden, I'm denied for a year over wording in the letter. And she waited until the end of business on Friday to inform my employer, instead of calling me directly, which is also shady and unprofessional in my opinion. She knows there is no way a neurologist can definitively state it was not a stroke or seizure, all they can do is state all test results indicate it was probably not, but that's not good enough for her. I have no history of stroke or seizure, there is no history of stroke or seizure in my family, all tests came back clear and normal, so can someone please explain to me why I'm screwed? And having my hands tied all weekend, not being able to get any kind of answers in regards to anything, is just adding to my stress and frustration. I have a 4 page list of places I need to contact on Monday either by phone or in person. I understand its a liability issue, and that is why the neurologist can't definitively state it was not a stroke or seizure, but if he is willing to write a letter stating I'm fit for full duty and ok to operate the truck, why isn't that good enough? I sent an email to FMSCA to inquire about options to appeal the decision, but of course I won't hear back until next week some time. In the meantime, although I have been asking for light duty work at the Swift terminal, I was told there wasn't anything available. And yet when I went online this weekend, there are postings for two open office positions, both of which I'm qualified for, because I worked in an office/customer service setting for 25 years before making the career change to truck driver. But no matter what I do, it will be a massive pay cut, because dividing my weekly salary by 40 hours means I was essentially making over $21 per hour, and any other job I find, the best I can probably do is $15 per hour, if I'm lucky. That's $1000 pay cut per month. I'm sorry, I know I'm just rambling and whining and complaining, but I'm really at a loss here, I'm so freaking frustrated.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

And now all hope is lost. Neurologist can't or won't definitively state is was not a stroke or seizure. I've requested to be referred to a different neurologist for a second opinion, but probably won't do me any good.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

At this time my medical card is on hold for one year. Swift stated they will be terminating me, which means I'll also lose my health insurance. I just called them and stated I was approved for 12 weeks of FMLA, and to please not terminate me yet. I called the DOT doctor and she stated the reason I was denied was because the test results don't specifically state that I did NOT have a TIA/stroke or a seizure. She said if the neurologist will put that on paper, she will life the hold on my medical card. Called the neurologist, and waiting to hear back, but since that office is the one that takes forever to answer, I don't expect a response today. In the meantime, I'm now 5 weeks without pay, and after subtracting all June bills, I have a whopping $42.67 to my name. I've filed for unemployment and am trying to find something locally in the meantime. I've applied for assistance through Swift Charities, and will hear back from them next week sometime. Family and friends are going off on me, telling me I never should have said anything to Swift, I should have just went to the doctor on my own, and waited for the outcome before saying anything. Not sure, but pretty sure that's against DOT regulations, and regardless, it's not like I can go back and change it. All I can do is move forward, try to keep my head above water, and hold out a very small amount of hope that the neurologist will be willing to write what I need to go back to work.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

OK, update time. I'm still not driving, now off 5 weeks with no pay. Swift doesn't have any "light duty" or DL openings right now (supposedly.) Back on the 11th I went to my doctor for what I thought was a UTI, turns out it was a kidney stone. Ended up in the ER, sent home, and then back in the ER two days later, where they admitted me for surgery and 3 days in the hospital (because God felt I didn't have enough on my plate right now.) That is my second kidney stone surgery, just had one last October. I was started on thyroid meds last August and apparently that is what is causing the kidney stones. Anyway, fun times there, not so much.

After getting out of the hospital, I went through several days of circus-like jumping through hoops to get the necessary tests scheduled and completed to get my medical card recertified. Not going into all the details, but it was a mess. Finally got all the tests done, and the good news is all tests came back clear. Bad news is without an official diagnosis, I'm still having issues getting my medical card reinstated. The doctors are leaning towards migraine, but won't put it on paper for me. They did however give me another release form ok to drive, which would make the third one I've submitted to Swift and to Concentra, where I go for my recertification physical. I've gone through 2 physicals, passed them both, only to be denied because the doctor that originally denied me has to clear the one year medical hold off my record. And Swift also put the one year restriction on my DAC.

So yesterday after another circus like day of trying to get all the test results on paper to send to that doctor, and then trying to get them faxed, that continued into today because I was calling every 30 minutes to see if they had received it (they weren't too happy about that) the doctor finally has the test results in her hands. So now I have to wait for her to review them and then she is supposed to call me once my medical card is ready to go. I'm hoping tomorrow, but at this point after so many false starts, I'm not holding my breath.

While I know that morally and professionally I did the right thing by reporting my medical issue to my employer, its really hard to not regret my honesty and integrity right now when I'm watching my bank account dwindle away and every option I have tried to get help I haven't qualified for. My blood pressure has skyrocketed during all of this to the point where I was referred to a cardiologist and put on BP meds as well.

So that is what is going on with me right now.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Sigh...more bad news. Thought I was returning to work today. But even with the doctor's release, Swift insisted I go get my med card recertified first. And recertification was denied due to lack of official diagnosis. So until I have a brain MRI done, I can't drive. If diagnosis comes back tia/mini stroke then med card denied for one year. If it comes back migraine or hypertensive episode, I might get back to earning a paycheck in a month or two.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

UPDATE: Well, Swift will not accept a letter of release from the doctor, a specific form has to be completed and returned to Swift HR before I can go back to work. So after a total cluster of a day Friday trying to get the stupid forms, I go back to the doctor's office only to find they close at noon on Fridays. So this morning I called to make sure they received the forms via FAX, and asked if I could come up and get them so I can go back to work. The doctor's office replied that it takes 7-14 business days to complete and return those forms to me, and they will not expedite for any reason, even when I told them I'm going to lose my job. They gave me a letter from the doctor stating I'm ok to return to work, and they are willing to verbally confirm that with Swift. So I called Swift, and they said no, they have to have the completed form before they will release me to return to work. So in desperation I called my primary doctor that referred me to the specialist, and asked if their office would be willing to complete the forms. I'm waiting for them to call me back, but if they say no, I have to go up to Kansas City today and clean out my truck. While I know taking care of my health is important, to be honest, I regret even telling Swift about my little episode. Also, my primary doctor also referred me to a cardiologist due to high blood pressure, and I don't even have an appointment with them yet. If my doctor refuses to complete the form until I'm released to return to work by the cardiologist, then I am well and truly screwed. Pretty sure all this stress is not helping my blood pressure.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Good news and bad news. The good news is I'm cleared to drive. The bad news is Swift won't let me until the doctor completes a release form. If my driver leader had told me that at some point during my daily phone calls to him, I could have had it with me. Didn't find out until after my appt this morning. And of course the office closed at noon today so I have to wait until Monday. Their patient info packet says allow 7 to 14 business days for completion of the forms. Bringing a book and packing a lunch and will spend all day everyday in their waiting room until it's done.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Short term disability...

Just sharing something I learned the hard way. If your company insurance offers short term disability...take it.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

Talked to the 401K people yesterday. I'm not eligible to take out a loan, and what I'm going through does not qualify as "hardship." I asked what does, and was told foreclosure on a house or buying a house is the only way I can touch MY money now. I said, I don't own, I rent, and was told I don't qualify. Kind of ****es me off, actually. If I'd been socking that money into a savings account where I could access it now, I would not be nearly as stressed out. However, my boss told me worst case scenario is I can "quit" and get the money, and then get hired right back. Its ridiculous that I would have to do that, affect my seniority, just to get to money that is MINE!! However, my boss also told me we have a driver on the fleet who suffered a full stroke with seizures, and he was only off two months and then released back to driving. So I'm hopeful that the neurologist will spring me when he sees me Friday, and I'll be back on the road Monday. I feel fine physically, so if meds will fix it (they think it was a clot due to high cholesterol, already on meds for that) then let's go. I am bored out of my mind.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

TIA aka mini stroke and my cdl.

This is from the Reference Guide for DOT Physical Driver Exams...

TIA • No driving within one year • Subsequent clearance by neurologist

And this is from the May 2014 new guidelines...

Neurologic Disease- syncope, seizure, stroke, TIA etc. • One year certification requiring consultation by a Neurologist who understands the functions and demands of commercial driving.

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